Marketing Rules

Digital or traditional, the basics of marketing haven’t changed since Oog and Ogg crawled out of their cave and began dickering over a stone ax-head. Here are some of the rules for marketing success in any age.

That’s everybody’s favorite radio station – What’s In It for Me. Benefits (that’s what’s in it for me) are the basis of all marketing. Benefits are why people buy. They’re the difference in their life that buying from you will make.

Benefits are not features. Those are characteristics of your product, service or company.

Benefits are not applications. That’s how people use whatever you sell them.

Benefits are the difference in their life that happens because they buy something from you. Tell people how they will benefit and they will buy from you. It’s almost that simple.

The Law of Horn Tooting
No matter how much you wish it were so, people do not just automatically wake up one morning and decide to buy from you. They have to hear about you first. They have to know what you do and how buying from you will benefit them.

No matter how much you wish it were so, the only person you can count on to tell your story is you. Sure, your customers might say good things about you, but you can’t count on that.

No if your horn is going to get tooted, it’s best to figure that you will be doing the tooting. That’s the Law of Horn Tooting: Toot thine own horn for thou canst not count on another to toot thy horn for thee.

The Magic Stone of Marketing
There may be magic in a young girl’s heart, but there’s very little magic in marketing. Despite how consultants and motivational speakers may make it seem, you’re just going to have to work at it. There’s no one, or even two, simple things that will suddenly, completely, and permanently make your marketing effective.

No, if there is a magic stone of marketing it is this: do the basics with unremitting diligence. And what are those basics, I hear you cry.

You must get your message out so that people recognize your name and associate it with what you do and with what makes you different.

You must identify prospects and convert a goodly number of them into buyers.

You must tell folks about the benefits of buying from you. This is all folks, customers and prospects alike. Remember the Law of Horn Tooting. Don’t figure that just because you’ve given folks good service, they’ll remember the next time they’re ready to buy.

You must deliver on your promises. If you don’t do this, nothing else really matters much.

You must stay in touch. If you’re not talking to your best customers and prospects you won’t know what their problems really are. You won’t know when they have a problem with your products or company. And you won’t be able to tell them about the neat new product or service that’s perfect for them.

There are other things you should do, like having special programs to get that critical second order, making things increasingly easy for customers and prospects, and paying attention to your most valuable customers. None of these things, alas, is magic.

Riley’s Rule
When he was a National Basketball Association coach, Pat Riley used to have a saying: “No rebounds, no rings.” In other words, if you don’t do the important work, you won’t be a winner. We can translate that into business terms.

No marketing, no money. Marketing is not a campaign, initiative or program that you get done with. It’s the way you do business. Every day. Every week. Every month. Forever.

KISS Principle I
You know this one. It’s been a staple of motivational speakers and sales trainers for years. Keep It Simple, Silly. You may substitute the S word of your choice for the final word in that sentence.

Keep it simple because complexity makes you work harder for the same results. When I was starting out in business, the company I was with made us chant 8-4-2 until it bubbled up from our subconscious unbidden.

The chant meant this. Make eight sales calls every business day. A call was where you actually talked to the customer, not just left your card. Demonstrate the product four times a day. Close two sales a day.

Simple, eh? It is. But it kept us focused on the basics. And people who followed the rule tended to be successful.

KISS Principle II
This one is Keep It Smart, Silly. Play the odds.

Pay attention to the best customers and the best prospects. Pareto is still right; you’re going to eighty percent or so of your results from around twenty percent of your customers and prospects.

If you haven’t done it already, make up an A-B-C list of customers and prospects. Then work that list, paying attention to the customers and prospects with the most potential.

And do it right. Make sure you call on your best prospects and customers enough to get the business you need from them.

In the early Twentieth Century, writer Ring Lardner put it this way: “The race may not always be to the swift, nor victory to the strong. But that’s the way to bet.”

Kiss Principle III
This principle is a little different. This principle is not an acronym. This principle is about real kisses.

Answer this question. Where are you most likely to get your next kiss? Will it be from a random sample of people you meet on the street? Or will it be where you got your last kiss?

Odds are that your next kiss will come from the place you got your last kiss. Now replace the word “kiss” with the word “sale.”

People who’ve bought from you before are the most likely to buy from you again. Even more, selling to them is more efficient. It costs five times less in terms of money, time and effort to get a sale from an existing customer than it does to create a new customer.

And it gets better. Existing customers are likely to buy more and more profitable items the longer they remain customers.

So romance those current customers. Show them how much you love them.

The Iron Law of Responsibility
It’s up to you. You’re responsible. If your customer makes a bad decision and buys from the competition, it’s your fault.

It’s not your customer’s fault. They made the best decision they could in their situation with they knowledge they had available. If they didn’t have the right information, you should have told them. If they needed to decide right away, you should have been available to help.

It’s not the world’s fault, or the market’s fault, or your competitor’s fault. You are the only one responsible for the results of your marketing.

It’s up to you to share the benefits, toot your horn, and keep after the basics of marketing day after day. It’s up to you to keep it simple and smart. It’s up to you to romance your customers. It’s simple, really, but it’s not easy, and it hasn’t changed for centuries.

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